The 13 Best Books of 2017

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. –Vera Nazarian

Personal experience is the number one way to continue your self-education and accelerate your learning, but we’d argue reading is a strong second place winner.

As lifelong learners, we are avid readers at The Mission. Every year, we read tons of books across all genres and of various lengths. Picking our favorite books from the many great books released this year was difficult, but we’ve managed to put together a list of our top picks.

Here are the 13 best books of 2017:

1. Principles by Ray Dalio


In Principles, Ray Dalio summarizes the principles, values, and strategies he’s followed to become successful both in life and business.

“Having the basics — a good bed to sleep in, good relationships, good food, and good sex — is most important, and those things don’t get much better when you have a lot of money or much worse when you have less. And the people one meets at the top aren’t necessarily more special than those one meets at the bottom or in between.” ―Ray Dalio

2. The Happiness Hack: How to Take Charge of Your Brain and Program More Happiness into Your Life by Ellen Petry Leanse


During her time working for tech giants (like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft), Ellen Leanse mapped how the mind works to develop systems that instilled technology habits in users. In The Happiness Hack, she turns her attention away from technology and instead focuses on promoting habits designed to ‘get your life back.’

3. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Harari


Yuval Noah Harari, author of the phenomenal book Sapiens, is back with an equally provocative read. This time around, he discusses the potential of humanity and the future of our world.

“We do not become satisfied by leading a peaceful and prosperous existence. Rather, we become satisfied when reality matches our expectations. The bad news is that as conditions improve, expectations balloon.” ―Yuval Noah Harari

4. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson


Walter Isaacson has authored some of the best biographies we’ve ever read — including Steve Jobs and Einstein. And Isaacson doesn’t disappoint in his most recent biography, Leonardo da Vinci.

“His lack of reverence for authority and his willingness to challenge received wisdom would lead him to craft an empirical approach for understanding nature that foreshadowed the scientific method developed more than a century later by Bacon and Galileo. His method was rooted in experiment, curiosity, and the ability to marvel at phenomena that the rest of us rarely pause to ponder after we’ve outgrown our wonder years.”―Walter Isaacson

5.The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


The Hate U Give was awarded Audiobook of the Year by Amazon, and we can see why. While the voice performance is stellar, the book itself does an exceptional job capturing the real-world divides that live within our communities.

6. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson


The title of this book is 100% accurate. Neil deGrasse Tyson provides us with a clear understanding of the wonders of astrophysics in easily consumable chunks. We highly recommend this one for you busy folks out there who’d like to learn more about the universe we all live in, but don’t want to commit to hours of research.

7. Ka by John Crowley


Ka by John Crowley is an entertaining fantasy novel that follows the lives and deaths of a crow named Dar Oakley who lives in the land of Ka.

“He was looking into a still forest pool when he found himself, his reflected face ringed by fallen leaves: a Crow of this place. He seemed to be looked at by that face, as though by another Crow, who knew something about him that he didn’t; and in a flash of certainty he knew that in truth he wasn’t this Crow whose face he saw, or hadn’t always been. He had been another Crow in other times; and there were times when he had not been at all. Whenever Dar Oakley finds himself — as by now he has done over and over — he finds more of himself than he found the time before.” ―John Crowley

8. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman


We are huge fans of mythology over here at The Mission, so we were stoked when this book came out! Neil Gaiman breathes life into the ancient epics of the Norse Gods in this must-read fantasy novel.

“The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.”―Neil Gaiman

9. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid


Named a Best Book of the Year by New York Times, Time Magazine and Guardian — How could we not include Exit West. Mohsin Hamid tells the story of two refugees who are fiercely in love but are unable to remain in their homeland because of ongoing war. To avoid conflict, they take magical portals that whisk them away into unknown lands.

“Moving, audacious, and indelibly human.” –Entertainment Weekly, “A” rating

10. Man of the Hour: James B. Conant, Warrior Scientist by Jennet Conant


A stunning biography about James B. Conant, a controversial chemist and political advisor during the nuclear age, as told by his granddaughter, Jennet Conant.

11. Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday


Ryan Holiday, author of Ego is the Enemy, answers the question: What makes something sell years, decades, or even centuries later? A worthwhile read to any marketer, business owner, or entrepreneur out there.

“From sacrifice comes meaning. From struggle comes purpose. If you’re to create something powerful and important, you must at the very least be driven by an equally powerful inner force.” ―Ryan Holiday

12. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer


In this dystopian fiction novel, Jeff Vandermeer takes us into a future world ruined by biotech. A discarded experiment named Borne lives in a society that doesn’t readily accept him for who, or what, he is.

“Am I a person?” Borne asked me.

“Yes, you are a person,” I told him. “But like a person, you can be a weapon, too.”

-Jeff Vandermeer

13. Energy and Civilization: A History by Vaclav Smil


In Energy and Civilization: A History, Vaclav Smil offers a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society throughout history.

“It’s not the easiest book to read, but at the end you’ll feel smarter and better informed about how energy innovation alters the course of civilizations.” -Bill Gates

Those are our picks for the best books of 2017. If you enjoyed this article, please share!

What books did we miss? Leave them in the comments below!

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